Transcriptomic Profiling of Circulating HLA-DR Myeloid Cells, Compared with HLA-DR+ Myeloid Antigen-presenting Cells

Reem Saleh, Rowaida Z. Taha, Varun Sasidharan Nair, Salman M. Toor, Nehad M. Alajez, Eyad Elkord*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs) are a heterogeneous population of cells with potent immunosuppressive functions, which can inhibit the activation of immune responses under a steady-state condition and pathological conditions. We performed transcriptomic profiling of circulating CD33+HLA-DR+ myeloid antigen-presenting cells (APCs) and CD33+HLA-DR myeloid cells (potentially MDSCs) in healthy individuals. We sorted both subpopulations from peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) of 10 healthy donors and performed RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq). We found that several signaling pathways associated with the positive regulation of immune responses, such as antigen presentation/processing, FcγR-mediated phagocytosis and immune cell trafficking, phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt signaling, DC maturation, triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells 1 (TREM1) signaling, nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT) and IL-8 signaling were downregulated in CD33+HLA-DR myeloid cells. In contrast, pathways implicated in tumor suppression and anti-inflammation, including peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) and phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN), were upregulated in CD33+HLA-DR myeloid cells. These data indicate that PPAR/PTEN axis could be upregulated in myeloid cells to keep the immune system in check in normal physiological conditions. Our data reveal some of the molecular and functional differences between CD33+HLA-DR+ APCs and CD33+HLA-DR myeloid cells in a steady-state condition, reflecting the potential suppressive function of CD33+HLA-DR myeloid cells to maintain immune tolerance. For future studies, the same methodological approach could be applied to perform transcriptomic profiling of myeloid subsets in pathological conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)952-963
Number of pages12
JournalImmunological Investigations
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • antigen-presenting cells
  • immune response
  • immunosuppression
  • Myeloid cells
  • transcriptomic profiling


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